Coronavirus: Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington on canceled premiere, ‘social distancing’
Coronavirus has thrown a wrench into kickoff plans for Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington’s upcoming Hulu miniseries “Little Fires Everywhere.”
The series, based on the bestselling 2017 novel by Celeste Ng, has received rapturous reviews ahead of its March 18 release, with USA TODAY writing that “the two producer/stars not only meet but easily exceed towering expectations.”
“Fires” charts what happens when the delicate balance in the postcard-perfect suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, is thrown out of whack by the clash of two families. Set in 1998, the show watches white, rich, starkly blonde Elena Richardson (Witherspoon) and her husband, Bill (Joshua Jackson) cope with the arrival of artist and single mother Mia Warren (Washington) and her daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood).
A splashy premiere was planned for Thursday night in Los Angeles, but has been canceled, like all major public events in Hollywood and beyond, in the wake of the coronavirus spread.
Today, the show soldiered on with its press day in Beverly Hills. Many of those interviews moved to phones (including this interview, at USA TODAY’s request). Media attending were asked by publicists to “please refrain from shaking hands/selfies/touching on-site. Additionally, should anyone feel they may be getting sick, we respectfully ask that the outlet send a different press member in your place.”
Witherspoon and Washington spoke jointly with USA TODAY, with more of the interview to follow next week.
Question: How are you feeling today about the coronavirus news?
Reese Witherspoon: I’m feeling everything that everyone out there is feeling: Confusion, stress. I’m trying to look for the most scientific facts and not listen to too much opinion. I feel flooded by opinion. (I’m) talking to friends who I find very grounding. But Kerry and I are similar in that we both have young children and older parents and (are) just navigating that thoughtfully.
Kerry Washington: As Reese said, (I’m) trying to gather the information that we need to get in order to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, but also remembering that your stress level can impact your immunity, and so to try and be calm as well.
Witherspoon: It’s never happened in my lifetime. Talking to my mother and hearing a historical perspective is interesting from her. But I think we’re all in new territory.
Q: What are your thoughts on the cancellation of tonight’s “Little Fires Everywhere” premiere?
Witherspoon: (It was) absolutely necessary. Social distancing is critical right now as we are trying to protect our most vulnerable.
Q: Is it true that the second season of “The Morning Show” is now on hiatus for two weeks?
Witherspoon: Yes that’s correct. We were filming. I shot yesterday and then Apple made the decision last night. And I think it was the right one.